UN renews Libya mission, pledges to support a ceasefire

The U.N. Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya April 6, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 12 September 2019

UN renews Libya mission, pledges to support a ceasefire

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution renewing its mission in Libya for another year and pledging to support struggling efforts to build a ceasefire in the war-torn country.
Libya has been mired in chaos since an uprising toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, when the United Nations mission in Libya (UNSMIL) was established.
The Security Council said it asked the UN Secretary-General "to assess the steps required to reach a lasting ceasefire (and) the possible role of UNSMIL in providing scalable ceasefire support."
The pledge of support was requested by UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, who has pushed for a restart of the political process since Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive in April to conquer the capital, Tripoli.
Haftar's forces are fighting those of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is led by Fayed al-Sarraj and is recognized by the UN.
While Sarraj is backed by Turkey and Qatar, Haftar enjoys varying levels of support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Russia, and France.
Last week, Salame warned that without action by the Security Council, Libya's conflict would escalate if outside patrons step up support for the warring sides.
But General Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesman for Haftar's forces, on Saturday ruled out any political negotiations.
"The time of going back to dialogue is over," said al-Mesmari, speaking in the UAE. "The military solution is the best solution to spread security and reimpose the law."
Since April, fighting between pro-GNA and pro-Haftar forces has killed at least 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, while some 120,000 others have been displaced, according to the World Health Organization.


Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

Lebanese anti-government protesters flash victory signs as they head to the south of Lebanon on a 'revolution' bus from central Beirut on November 16, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

  • The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest

BEIRUT: A Lebanese “revolution bus” traveling from north to south to unite protesters was halted by troops outside the city of Sidon on Saturday.
The army set up a road block to prevent the bus and a large protest convoy entering Sidon, the third-largest city in the country.
Local media said that the decision had been made to defuse tensions in the area following widespread protests.
Lebanese troops blocked the Beirut-South highway at the Jiyeh-Rumailah checkpoint over “security concerns,” a military source told Arab News.
“Some people in Sidon objected to the crossing of the bus and we feared that problems may take place,” the source added.
A protester in Ilya Square in Sidon said: “Those who do not want the bus to enter Sidon should simply leave the square because there are many who want to welcome the bus.”
The army allowed the bus to enter the town of Rumailah, 2 km from Sidon. “The bus will stop here after nightfall because of security fears and the risk of an accident,” the military source said.
The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest.
Activists said the protest bus “is spreading the idea of a peaceful revolution by unifying the people.”
“The pain is the same from the far north of Lebanon to the south and the only flag raised is the Lebanese flag,” one activist said.
Organizers of the protest convoy rejected claims that the cities of Sidon, Nabatieh and Tyre were reluctant to welcome the bus, and voiced their respect for the Lebanese army decision.

After leaving Akkar the bus passed through squares that witnessed protests in Tripoli, Batroun, Jbeil, Zouk Mosbeh, Jal El Dib and Beirut. Protesters chanted “Revolution” and lined the route of the convoy, turning it into a “procession of the revolution.”
The bus paused in Khalde, where the first victim of the protests, Alaa Abu Fakhr, was shot and killed a few days ago by a Lebanese soldier. The victim’s widow and family welcomed the convoy and protesters laid wreaths at the site of the shooting.
Activists’ tweets on Saturday claimed that life in Beirut’s southern suburbs is as difficult as in other areas of Lebanon.
“As a Shiite girl living in the heart of the southern suburbs, I deny that we are living well and not suffering. We are in a worse position than the rest of the regions,” said an activist who called herself Ruanovsky.
“No one is doing well,” said Wissam Abdallah. “The suburbs have external security and safety, but unfortunately there is a lot of corruption. There are forged car van plates, motorcycle mafia, Internet and satellite mafia, royalties mafia, and hashish and drugs mafia. Municipalities have to deal with these things as soon as possible.”